SoundRunner advisory committee dissolved

KINGSTON — The Port of Kingston has formally dissolved the Passenger-Only Ferry Advisory Committee, but port commissioners look forward to input from a follow-up group as SoundRunner grows.

The committee was formed by the port in April 2011 to make recommendations on expenses and operations of the passenger ferry. Committee Chairman Jerry Kirschner estimated the nine active members put in more than 4,000 volunteer hours, looking at “multiple aspects” of the operation and “pointed out where the gaps were.”

SoundRunner began operation in October 2010, but stopped service less than two months later because of weather complications. The ferry resumed operations in May 2011 but has never had the ridership to generate a profit.

However, SoundRunner and Port Executive Director Kori Henry said at a port commission meeting in February that ridership is growing. January’s average was around 20 morning and evening passengers; February’s average was 20 morning and 32 evening riders, topping out at 40 evening riders the last week of February.

Kirschner said the committee hadn’t been active since October, and many members had turned in their resignation anyway.

Port Commissioner Walt Elliott said there will be another committee formed to give the port input from riders on the quality and type of service the community wants. SoundRunner has two boats, and Kirschner said the second boat was intended to be rented out to generate a profit.

“The only thing that really counts is what is important to the riders,” Elliott said. “The quality of service I think depends directly on how the riders see the service being applied.”

The port is also involved in the Washington State Ferries’ future plans for Pier 50 in Seattle, where passenger ferries currently disembark. Henry said the port is in the process of setting up a meeting with Kitsap Transit, Jefferson County and King County to discuss the WSF plan, which involves reconstruction of Colman Dock.


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